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Chico & Rita – Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal – TIFF 2010

Chico & Rita - Animated movie by Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal - 2010 Toronto International Film Festival A seemingly ordinary, but tormented love story...

Hilario Durán celebrates 35 years of musical career at the Royal Theatre in Toronto

Pianists abound in the Island of Cuba. Excellent pianists indeed, but only a selected group meet the high standards of virtuosity. Hilario Luis Durán...

Hilario Durán Trio: Motion

In his much-anticipated follow-up to the Grammy-nominated and Juno Award-winning Latin Big Band recording, From The Heart (Alma Records, 2008) the piano master, Hilario...

Hector Martignon: Second Chance

In a literal world the music on Second Chance would simply represent “B” sides of music that pianist, Hector Martignon has played in the past. In reality they are anything but that. It is here that Martignon has provided wicked twists to all the music he has played before—he uses the term “devilish,” which in Spanish is a word fraught with meaning. The word diabólico might be infinitely more appropriate as it has fangs and breathes a fire [...]

Trio Esperança – De Bach á Jobim (Disques Dreyfus – 2010)

There is a rare and celestial beauty that pervades throughout De Bach á Jobim, the album by the legendary a capella Brasilian group, Trio Esperança who share a very special connection with the 10-voice ensemble, Grupo Vocal Desandann. Both ensembles use the oldest instrument known to human kind in intricate harmonies that have a spirit connection seemingly as old as the Psalms of David. However, from the historical perspective [...]

Federico Britos: Voyage

As the world continues to awake to the rising tide of undiscovered music and musicians from the South American paradigm—in an almost ironic kind...

Bobby Carcassés: De La Habana a Nueva York

The insane revelry of the guaguancó kicks off De La Habana a Nueva York, and produces a blue flame of energy from an all,...

SunlightSquare Latin Combo – Havana Central (2010)

Just how contagious is the music of Cuba? It has spread far and wide in a veritable pandemic. It is no longer an underground thing, something the Brits love to call any music that is not conventional rock and pop (how inane those monikers now sound). The seismic activity that comes from SunlightSquare Latin Combo on Havana Central was in fact a cracking session that the ensemble recorded over on the sunshine isle—no not Her Majesty’s territories at all [...]

Arturo Sandoval – A Time for Love (Concord Jazz – 2010)

The great trumpeter, Maurice André and Wynton Marsalis apart (who play in other musical realms as well, everybody really serious about the idiom of jazz—about music in general—dreams about making a recording with a string ensemble. Louis Armstrong made What a Wonderful World, his album of Broadway, Hollywood and standard charts. Cornetist, Warren Vaché made his, Don’t Look Back (Arbors Records, 2006) [...]

Kenia Celebrates Dorival Caymmi (Mooka Records – 2010)

Dorival Caymmi was considered a seminal figure in the music of Bahia in Brazil. His influence on the Música Popular Brasileira movement was incalculable and Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso continue to pay him homage in their original work even today as it is impossible to escape his influence. In the appropriately entitled album, Kenia Celebrates Dorival Caymmi, the wonderful vocalist, Kenia literally recreates the unusually festive nature [...]

Paul Austerlitz – Journey (Innova Recordings – 2008)

There is very little precedence for Journey, a work of striking newness and dazzling virtuosity, by the reeds player, Paul Austerlitz. First of all it occupies a rather narrow stream in Afro-Caribbean music—Dominican music of African origin—and secondly it is largely played on reeds of the very lowest register—only the great Anthony Braxton ventures there. It combines Yoruba chants with African and jazz musical idioms [...]

Roberto Fonseca: Akokan

In his follow-up to 2007’s Zamazu (Enja/Justin Time), Cuban piano master, Roberto Fonseca deepens his journey into his quasi-mystical musical search. Like the mythical...

Samuel Torres – Yaoundé (Self Produced – 2010)

For the spirits to materialise when they are summoned in worship the practice of the worship must reach a level of intensity—get to the blue part of the flame, so to speak—and arouse the angels and God as well to come down and bless the worshippers a million-fold. When David played his harp, so intense was his music that Samuel was inspired to anoint him King. Now it is the turn of another Samuel, not to anoint, but to call up the angels and saints [...]

Antonio Adolfo & Carol Saboya – Lá e Cá (Self Produced – 2010)

Although Antonio Adolfo makes a point to explain his singular style as an amalgam of a very personal style with a distinct infusion of Brazilian phrasing, this may not be necessary at all. Adolfo’s sweeping, symphonic pianistic style and the immaculate sense of swagger is highly recognizable. His virtuoso piano playing echoes with the offbeat of the samba, the irreverent rattle of maracatu and flights of fanciful capoeira. These he incorporates into his often [...]

El Movimiento – The Movement (Nueva Nota Records – 2010)

To employ a guitar in the melange of Latin music is no great deal, but to make use of the melodic and harmonic richness of the instrument over its rhythmic capability in the manner that El Movimiento have done on The Movement is quite courageous. Adam Agati has woven a mighty spell of seductive magic here. His mastery of the elements of melody and harmony are second to none and on this album, he certainly follows saxophonist Rashaan Barber close enough [...]

Gabriele Tranchina: A Song of Love’s Color

It appears that exacting pitch is not really important in the grander scheme of things, for Gabriele Tranchina’s singing. Although it seems likely that if she really wanted to this vocalist could nail the exacting pitch of the notes themselves with perfection, Tranchina eschews the exactitude of notation to scale impossible heights of emotion. In this respect she is like a storyteller who uses lyric passages to let tales of longing and other elusive emotions unfold [...]

Steve Pouchie – El Puente (The Bridge) (Self Produced – 2010)

It is altogether a special virtue to make an album that features music delightful to listen to as well as to feel an irresistible urge to get up and dance to when the first chords are struck. This is exactly what Steve Pouchie has done with El Puente. From the outset the vibraphonist draws a direct line in his musical lineage from Cal Tjader and Dave Samuels. There is that swaggering bluesy influence of Milt Jackson that may sometimes peep through [...]
Omar Sosa & NDR Bigband - Ceremony

Omar Sosa & NDR Big Band: Ceremony

Omar Sosa inhabits two worlds. One in which all humans live and the other is the spirit world. On Ceremony (Music arranged by Jaques Morelenbaum) a record that he made with the NDR Big Band, he has opened the door to both worlds. Moreover, with Jaques Morelenbaum’s masterful arrangements of his (Sosa’s) music these worlds are that much closer. Sosa has been crossing the threshold between this world and the spirit one [...]

Hamilton de Holanda Quintet: Brasilianos 2

The mandolin has barely evolved since its incarnation as a lute in Italy over three hundred years ago. A few more strings may have been added, so that there is now a ten-stringed version; tuning of these strings may have become more creative and different, but the instrument has remained essentially the same. Unlike the violin, its notes decay quicker after they are sounded and cannot usually be sustained after a point. But then you have musicians [...]

Ricardo Silveira – Até Amanhã (Adventure Music – 2010)

The music of guitarist Ricardo Silveira flows—especially on Até Amanhã/'Til Tomorrow--flows like an interminable river into the proverbial ocean of sound where a world of music mixes and mingles. Yet the idea that he is only marginally Brazilian is anathema. Silveira’s music ripples and gushes with a forceful swagger recalling, at times, the immensity force Rio Negro. That is when his phrases and lines bubble like with liquefying, steamy splendour [...]

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